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  1. #11

    Default Re: editing files

    Well, the variable can be set on a per map basis, so if a mapmaker creates a map that requires a high number of converts/undead he can set the chances of that happening to or close to 100%.

    The problem isn't the 255 creatures level cap, that problem must be solved by raising the cap. The problem is that mapmakers find it very difficult to make hard maps where they give the player access to a prison and gems. Players want to have enough gold and those rooms, but they are so powerful that they take the challenge out of every map. If they put a lot of heroes on a map to make it difficult, they will get converted to make the map easy instead.
    My proposed change gives the mapmaker a tool to tweak the difficulty in such a way that if the player fights well he keeps his own creatures and might get a few heroes/undead as a bonus, and if he fights poorly he will lose more creatures in the fight than he can get back from the prison afterwards.

    I'm not saying it must be impossible to heal creatures in the torture chamber - in fact if you don't heal them they will run out of health before torture works, see the first decision triangle in the flowchart - but that it should not take any sense of reward away from the player. Right now you can get all the creatures you want all the time without even trying. If you have gold use the heal spell, if not use chickens, but every creatures you'll fight will end up in your army. Nobody ever goes: 'Yes, I've managed to get a samurai, cool'. Because it is expected.
    And note that bullfrog already put the 'RNG' in torture, they just failed to make it work properly because indefinite healing will negate any effect of torture duration.

    And personally I dislike hard caps. What should happen to the creatures in the torture room at this point, should they die instantly, be tortured indefinitely or just refuse to be tortured? And what would be the ingame explanation for that?

  2. #12
    KeeperFX Author mefistotelis's Avatar
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    Default Re: editing files

    I agree specific convert chance may provide behaviour which is too random.

    Maybe size of the torture chamber should be used for limiting? ie. there could be a limit of creatures checked before converting equal to players creature limit + amount of torture slabs / 3.

    Also, note that you can already disallow healing prisoners on per-campaign basis - in magic.cfg:
    Code:
    [power8]
    Name = POWER_HEAL_CREATURE
    Castability = ALL_GROUND OWNED_CRTRS ALLIED_CRTRS CUSTODY_CRTRS BOUND_CRTRS
    (but the prisoners will still eat chickens)
    Last edited by mefistotelis; April 21st, 2016 at 07:39.

  3. #13

    Default Re: editing files

    Nice to see you're back.

    And that's a shame because you were the only one who really needed convincing. Having a way to ensure not every enemy creatures ends up making the player more powerful would have made it possible to easily make several new fun maps and would even make it possible to instantly turn bad maps into good ones. I've reviewed a sample of the maps in the map database, and so many end up completely broken because of the prison the player has.

    I would be all for having the torture chamber effectiveness be a multiplier in the convert chance though. Including the creature limit adds little value as both it and the convert chance will be configured by the mapmaker, this will only add some additional complication without having any actual game play effect. (E.g. if the creature limit is 10 the mapmaker simply has to put the convert chance to double that what he would if the creature limit were 20).
    Having such an implementation without a base chance - so a limit of some sort - would still have the for the player strange effect that at some point non of his creatures would convert anymore and you'll end up not trying to convert weaker creatures in favor of stronger ones.
    What's easiest to understand is that torturing could be fatal, but that occasionally you manage to convert a creature to your cause or have it reveal information.
    Last edited by YourMaster; April 21st, 2016 at 09:28.

  4. #14
    Imp C4st1gator's Avatar
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    Default Re: editing files

    I know, that among designers, there is a bias against hard limits. I never understood why so much time has to be spent on developing overly complicated and/or inefficient solutions to relatively simple problem, when you could simply drop a line of code that says:
    IF(OVERPOWERED_VALUE >= X)
    OVERPOWERED_VALUE = X
    ENDIF
    While it can be argued, that a hard limit may be the laziest possible fix, at least it offers a consistent rule, that won't be broken and allows for a certain code efficiency.
    DK1 is full of these, because memory was very limited and expensive. Maps are a set size, that can't be exceeded, but the uniformity allows for fast loading times. Creatures, Map Objects, these things need a set amount of memory and CPU cycles. Expanding the limits means allocating more resources.

    Since computers are environments of limited resources, it pays to invest some thought into dealing with spammy and exploitative end users.
    And even with all these soft limits and the complicated mathematics behind them most programmers still add a hard limit, just to be on the safe side.

    Also, how does it stop me from amassing an army of Ghosts, if just every tenth victim returns? Once I have conditionally respawning enemies, I just need more time on average.
    Even if a level only has a fixed number of 155 heroes, wouldn't it be more sensible to add a map rule, that a players forces cannot exceed a limit deemed appropriate by the mapmaker?
    For instance, I could limit the number of Ghosts a Keeper can have at a time to 10. Still powerful enough to defeat a lone Avatar, as they can freeze him continuously, but not powerful enough to defeat an equal number of level 5 Fairies.

    If you had a 1/10th chance of conversion, you'd struggle to get your first Ghosts, or even worse be unable to win a level, the mapmaker intended to be won with ghosts.
    No hard limit would mean, that all soft limits still unravel eventually. That eventuality isn't necessarily bound to the arbitrary 255 creature limit, but can set in, once processor and memory prove insufficient.

    And in my experience, throwing even more hardware at a problem delays it, or in the case of web-development has lead to pages exceeding world literature in total size, leading to slow and inefficient websites. (Fortunately, this one isn't slow/bloated.)
    Last edited by C4st1gator; April 21st, 2016 at 22:59. Reason: Typo

  5. #15

    Default Re: editing files

    Quote Originally Posted by C4st1gator View Post
    I know, that among designers, there is a bias against hard limits. I never understood why so much time has to be spent on developing overly complicated and/or inefficient solutions to relatively simple problem, when you could simply drop a line of code that says:
    Well, let me take a swing to try to help you understand.

    First of all, keep in mind I'm not talking about a technical problem at all. I'm not arguing to limit torture/prison effectiveness because it causes performance issues, I'm arguing for it because it causes gameplay issues.

    Secondly, you're making a very common mistake of thinking a 'simple if-statement' to introduce a limit in a complex system has a simple result. This is simply not true. A hopefully easy to understand example is that if you introduce a hard limit to allow just 3 converts per map you will see dramatic changes in player behavior and they will ignore all converts until they have 3 of the most powerful creatures in prison.
    This example takes me to the most important factor of what is important with hard limits: They are very difficult to give an INGAME explanation. Sure the player can easily understand the mechanics of convert just 3 creatures and the rest die instantly when you torture them, but he will think it is ridiculous and he will dislike this. If you have the 'just 3' rule in place the player will strategize against the game limitation from an outside perspective, not an ingame perspective. - It feels wrong for the player. -

    Hard limits are no problem when the player doesn't have to consider them. The creature limit in DK is an ok implementation because in normal play you'll never have to consider it.

    In DK2 they made an attempt by linking the skeletons to the prison size, they had to add counters to make the mechanic clear, but it still felt silly like the prison somehow sustained the skeletons in your dungeon.

    Quote Originally Posted by C4st1gator View Post
    Also, how does it stop me from amassing an army of Ghosts, if just every tenth victim returns? Once I have conditionally respawning enemies, I just need more time on average.
    Even if a level only has a fixed number of 155 heroes, wouldn't it be more sensible to add a map rule, that a players forces cannot exceed a limit deemed appropriate by the mapmaker?
    For instance, I could limit the number of Ghosts a Keeper can have at a time to 10. Still powerful enough to defeat a lone Avatar, as they can freeze him continuously, but not powerful enough to defeat an equal number of level 5 Fairies.

    If you had a 1/10th chance of conversion, you'd struggle to get your first Ghosts, or even worse be unable to win a level, the mapmaker intended to be won with ghosts.
    Well, naturally if you have an indefinite supply of enemies you can convert any number until you reach a hard limit. So don't make maps with limitless enemies and a prison. What you suggest is already more or less possible, you can kill off every ghost after the 10th with a level script like I did on this map.
    However, even though you have to consider what happens when you reach the hard limits(how will the player know the creature in the torture room will never be converted because of your IF statement) they will work in limiting the amount of ghosts of course. Same goes for skeletons, vampires, and for converts you could either set a limit per creature type or accept that the player will have no interest in converting barbarians anymore. But when there are no ingame explanations the player will dislike it, and you'll have to change a lot more to the game because players will take the new rules in consideration when they play the game.

    Now, of course having creatures die from torture and having not every creature returning from the dead reduce the amount of creatures you gain, but this is not the point. The point is to sever the hard link between the amount of enemies you face and the amount of creatures you gain. Right now mapmakers don't know how you can make a hard map: Few Enemies = Easy map. Many Enemies => Many converts = Easy map.
    If the mapmaker can control the rate between enemies and converts you face he can easily tweak the difficulty. A small hero party might kill 1 creature and add 2 converts making the player stronger, but a big hero party might kill 6 but only add 3 converts making the player weaker. Fixed limits don't work like this and are more difficult for a mapmaker to get right.

    And to conclude, if a mapmaker needs the player to acquire 10 ghosts he would be able to set the ghost-chance to 100% while the player has fewer than 10 ghosts. (or when heroes are starting to get scarce.)

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